The American experience of age discrimination legislation

John Macnicol

in The future for older workers

Published by Policy Press

Published in print April 2009 | ISBN: 9781847424181
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447303800 | DOI:
The American experience of age discrimination legislation

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In 2006, the United Kingdom passed legislation against age discrimination in employment. This legislation outlawed direct and indirect discrimination, granted employment protection to older workers, allowing opportunities for older workers to work past the age of sixty-five. In the United States, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) has been safeguarding the rights and interests of older workers since 1967. This act provided protection against age-based discrimination in hiring, firing, promotion, demotion, retraining, working hours, compensation, workplace harassment and other aspects of employment. Since 1968, mandatory retirement has been abolished except for in a few occupations where public safety is an issue. Interestingly the ADEA did not protect elected officials, their staff and other high-level policy makers. It did not affect the minimum age for certain public offices and nor did it provide age-based legal protection for young people. This chapter explores the origins and the subsequent development of the ADEA, and draws some parallels with Britain. In doing so, the chapter does not tacitly accept the policy maker's assumption that the benefits of such legislation is unproblematic, and that the issues are simply technocratic ones relating to minor adjustments. Instead, the chapter analyses the ADEA's origins, aims and achievements from a critical perspective.

Keywords: age discrimination; employment; employment protection; older workers; ADEA; age-based discrimination

Chapter.  5996 words. 

Subjects: Gerontology and Ageing

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